More Of the Supt. response NOT shared with the Media and general Public

Salah  Khelfaoui Sun Photo Bob Whitaker
Salah Khelfaoui
Sun Photo Bob Whitaker

More Information about the Racial Texting report that the Supt. shared in his weekly newsletter and the School Committee packet but didn’t see the need to publish on the Website nor share with the Newspaper or in his radio interview.

The attitude seems to be either follow me on Social Media ( his weekly newsletter and Twitter) or keep up with the School Committee packet. Otherwise I don’t have to explain.

Some info in his weekly newsletter – I highly value equity and transparency and, although disappointed about redactions in the report, understand the lawyer’s role in protecting the school district from litigation. I am personally committed to working in more collaborative and transparent ways, in hiring and other areas, and am committed to building the capacity for effective, collaborative, and inclusive social change for our schools and our community. As Superintendent of Schools, I take this very seriously as I embark on a change initiative of potential enormous impact to the Lowell Public Schools and the city of Lowell.

Other Related Work Includes:
Refining our human capital strategy to be more diverse, inclusive and equitable
Since early November, we have been working with our own Human Resource Office, The Interaction Institute for Social Change, Lowell’s Project Learn, the Theodore Edson Parker Foundation and Lisa Riddick from the NAACP, to further develop a diverse, equitable and inclusive human capital strategy. We know that our staff should more accurately reflect the culture and diversity of our student population and very early in the summer months we identified this as one of our major goals for the year. Now that we have written and received a Parker Foundation grant, Building Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, we have begun the process of reaching out to this previously established Courageous Conversations planning committee to design a program for our staff members that will commence in February of 2016. This program will help us to develop a shared language and understanding of the rationale for developing a diversity, equity and inclusion plan. This plan includes working with staff members to begin this major change initiative.
Some other key steps in this work have included;
· We have worked with Portia Sims who represents El Mundo, A Boston Spanish newspaper, the Chelsea Record, and, to advertise for jobs in Boston and the surrounding area to attract diverse candidate pools.
· We are working with the Massachusetts Partnership for Diversity in Education to develop strategies to better reach diverse candidates and to collaborate on our diversity in hiring educator recruitment career fair to be held at Lowell High School. This career fair, to be held on Saturday, March 19, 2016, with the explicit goal of hiring more diverse candidates that reflect the language and culture of our student body, is the first of its kind for our school district.

In this Week’s School Committee Packet

The Task Force Report was not inclusive of the after incident actions taken by the district administrative team and Lowell High School administrators.

The Task Force recommended areas for the District Administration and Lowell High School to research including the following:

 Improved reporting forms to include more detail about incidents in order to allow future analysis of trends that should be addressed including an online system for reporting to assist with that.

o Response: The school district’s discipline reports/forms that are utilized by school administrators are presently online. Forms were updated to reflect all of the required changes relative to Chapter 222 during the 2014-2015 school form. Additionally, required online discipline reporting occurs annually to DESE utilizing the state require categories, definitions, and trend of behavior.

 Discuss policy implications with the School Committee, focusing on updating policies on phone use, texting, social media, communication, and bullying.

o Response: The aforementioned school policies referred to by the Task Force are included in the Lowell Public School Student and Parent Handbook which is annually reviewed in the spring and updated to reflect amendments/revisions to state laws and regulations inclusive of a review of LPS discipline data. All changes to said policies and the handbook are brought forward to the Joint Policy and Student Support Services Subcommittees for consideration before they are brought forward to the full School Committee for a vote. In addition, if there are amendments to state laws that are effective prior to the annual review, those changes are brought forth at said time.

 Provide Training to all administrators about critical incidents and how to manage discipline cases in light of new state laws (Chapter 222).

o Response: The district has provided extensive training for school administrators Pre-K-12 focused on Chapter 222 and implications for leaders. What follows is a synopsis of the training provided to date:

Initiated a discussion about the impact of Chapter 222 during Summer Administrator Leadership (a year before the law took effect) and placed administrators on notice of new law coming into effect by providing a fact sheet and summary of the law.
Met with administrators throughout the school year during selected monthly administrative meetings to share district planning around Chapter 222 and gathered administrators’ feedback relative to Chapter 222 proposed implementation in Lowell.

Developed Chapter 222 disciplinary forms, a hearing script, and flow charts. Provided an opportunity for administrators to review and comment on drafts before finalizing documents.
Provided a PowerPoint on Chapter 222 during an All Administrator Meeting highlighting the major changes impacting disciplinary actions and implications for administrators.
Met with the Summer School staff administrators to train them on the impact of Chapter 222 and provided guidance based on data from previous summer school programs.
Provided additional Chapter 222 Training during Summer Leadership to all administrators including new administrators.

– Developed and provided two Chapter 222 Trainings on 8/20/14 and 8/21/14 which included a study of case scenarios. The presentation was placed on video, to insure that all administrators could access the information as a follow-up measure.
– Created a video to demonstrate and model the required elements of a Chapter 222 Hearing for all administrators.

All administrators were extended the invitation to participate in multiple venues (mandatory and optional) to support implementation of Chapter 222 and to address questions and concerns that arose with implementation of the new legislation.

– Established a Chapter 222 Advisory Committee to meet quarterly throughout the 2014-2015 school year concurrent with regularly established Leadership days.
– Invited administrators to Q and A sessions on Chapter 222, developed a survey to garner feedback and additional questions from school administrators about implementation of Chapter 222. Provided email responses to survey for all administrators to review.
– Placed Chapter 222 forms in Aspen X-2 to support administrators and trained administrators how to access and utilize forms.

Provided opportunities for Staff Counsel to model and attend initial Chapter 222 hearings to support administrators.
– Provided multiple opportunities for Staff Counsel to conduct specific trainings for school building staff at the request of administrators. In addition, the Office of Student Support Services provided on-going support by way of phone and email to address staff questions and concerns regarding Chapter 222 implementation.
– Provided an advisory update from DESE on Chapter 222 to administrators and reviewed the advisory at an All Administrator Meeting.
– Researched how other school districts were addressing Chapter 222 including conducting a comparison of the other districts’ discipline procedures and/or processes as outlined in their Student Handbooks or Codes of Conduct. Shared the research with the School Committee and all administrators as the basis for Lowell’s procedures and processes in implementing the law.
– Developed draft alternative school placement guidelines to address how Chapter 222 impacted alternative education, 504 and special education students and provided multiple opportunities for administrators to provide feedback prior to the guidelines being finalized